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Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Year in Review - the Second Half

At the end of our time in North Carolina in May I split off from Wayne and Cory and headed to Pilot Mountain State Park for a hike through the mountain laurel.

Pilot Mountain

Then I met up with them again at Carter Caves State Park in Kentucky.  With all the caves there are in Kentucky I usually pass them by, but this time Cory and I took the cave tour.  The guys passed when I pleaded for a trail partner, so I had to enjoy the great hiking trails and natural rock formations by myself.

Fern Bridge at Carter Caves State Park

Back in the Midwest for the summer I hit a variety of state parks and sections of the Ice Age Trail.  From Pike Lake and Long Lake in Wisconsin on up to West Bend, Hartman Creek and then further north to Council Grounds State Park where I finally hiked the Grandfather Falls segment of the IAT.

Toward the end of July we experienced a heat wave so north I went again, this time up to Munising in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan which has become a favorite of mine despite having to worry about encountering mosquitoes and biting flies.  I stayed at Bay Furnace campground where I got to attend a ranger program on owls, and discovered a lovely little hydroelectric station at Au Train Falls away from the main tourist area.

I helped Katrina out at on National Night Out with her Girl Scout recruitment efforts...

And experimented with shooting family portraits for a friend.

Come August it was time for another big road trip with Wayne and Cory, but this time we stopped and bought a new toy hauler along the way!

Then we were westward bound to Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park!

Wayne on the Fern Lake Trail

Overall there are national parks we've enjoyed more but we had a good time.  Estes Park is a great little town, but RV parks are overcrowded and overpriced.  Sites within the park are nicer and roomier but come with absolutely no facilities or Verizon signal or wifi.  If we came again I would opt to stay in the park, but we did get some wildlife sightings at the RV park in town before we gave up and left a day early.

Deer behind our campsite

View from one of the trails on an early morning solo hike

On our way home we stopped at Scotts Bluff in Nebraska where we had a roomier site at the city run campground for half the price.

Scotts Bluff

As August turned in to September we arrived in South Dakota where we saw tons of wildlife which included the usual herds of bison and a family of mountain goats at Mt. Rushmore...

And while in South Dakota I met up with with Linda for the first time!  She shared one her favorite hikes to Harney Peak with me, and it was worth the climb.

blogger meet-up!

Besides the awesome views I particularly enjoyed the prayer flags on the summit of what is now called Black Elk Peak instead of Harney Peak.

Wayne and Cory were doing some fishing near our campground in Custer State Park after taking our kittens for long walks in the pine woods.

All too soon it was time to move along, with one last stop in South Dakota at the Badlands National Park.

Bison in the Badlands

While other folks go to Wall for the shops, I go for those Bighorn sheep sightings!

Back home I was feeding my new Pokemon Go addiction that Cory saddled me with during our trip by taking trips down to Southport Marina in Kenosha.

Or wandering around Milwaukee finding new things to see like Black Cat Alley.

Fall comes quickly and the monarchs started their migration while the fields turned gold.

A quick side trip down to St Louis to pick up Cory's friend brought me back to some sights Wayne and I saw many years ago on an anniversary trip.

Come October Cory and I boarded a plane for Newfoundland where we reconnected with family members we hadn't seen in awhile.

And I reconnected with our family's past by exploring our "homeplace" in Argentia.

Wayne's family's homeplace in Placentia, Newfoundland is looking a little different with the opening of the new life bridge finally completed.

And while our main reason for the trip was to attend a wedding we had plenty of time for other things like hanging out with sheep, picking berries and riding the quad down on the beach rocks.

As we headed back to St.John's I took the long way and stopped in beautiful Bay Roberts, a place I can't wait to return to for some more meandering on the cliffs.

Apparently I just can't get enough of Kentucky because in November I jaunted down again, this time trying out Taylorsville Lake State Park, walking in downtown Shelbyville, and then making my way back over the Ohio River to Indiana where I finally visited lovely Falls of the Ohio State Park and scoped out the fossil beds.

Why did I stuff yet another last minute trip into a busy fall?  Because I was scheduled to get carpal tunnel surgery on both hands and knew I wouldn't be going anywhere until at least January!

First the right wrist and then the left and both are healing nicely.  Whew!  I was a lot busier scurrying around the country than I thought I was this past year.  Hope you got to do all the things you wanted to do too!


  1. You've been quite the travelin' woman! Now you just have to make it out to Oregon (wink, wink!) ;)

    1. I'm seriously considering it, glad the offer still stands!! Maybe March or early April I'll keep you posted!

  2. Wow you have been quite the nomad visiting all those places, what will 2017 bring. Happy new year

  3. That looks like Long's Peak in RMNP... a 14er we climbed :)
    Box Canyon Mark

  4. What a year! Did you spend any time back at home? Happy New Year!